Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Portrait of Jennie (1948).

Portrait of Jennie(1948). Romantic/Fantasy film based on the novel by Robert Nathan. The film was directed by William Dieterle and produced by David O. Selznick. Cast: Jennifer Jones, Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Gish  and Joseph Cotten.

The film begins, when not a very well known painter Eben Adams, is having a hard time selling his paintings. Although, things begin to look up for Adams after a chance meeting with a young girl named Jennie Appleton, while sitting on a bench in Central Park. He notices that Jennie's clothing seems dated.

He makes a sketch of Jennie from memory, which impresses art dealer Miss Spinney, who suggest he paint a "Portrait Of Jennie".

Each time they meet she is older and Adams becomes more confused by her comments and realizes that, if what she says about her past are true, she should be 20 years older.

As time passes Adams tries to find out the truth about Jennie's past and the last time Adams, sees Jennie, is on a rocky seashore during a violent storm, which is absolutely beautiful and tragic.

One of the greatest stories of true love ever filmed. The entire film is in black and white, the tidal wave sequence towards the end is shown in green tint, and the final shot of the completed portrait of Jennie is in color.

Florence Bates (April 15, 1888 – January 31, 1954). In 1939 she was introduced to Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in her first major screen role, Mrs. Van Hopper, in Rebecca.

Among her other credits: Kitty Foyle, The Moon and Sixpence, Mr. Lucky, Heaven Can Wait, Mister Big, Since You Went Away, Kismet, Saratoga Trunk, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Winter Meeting, I Remember Mama, Portrait of Jennie, A Letter to Three Wives, On the Town, and Les Misérables.

Bates had a regular role on The Hank McCune Show and made guest appearances on I Love Lucy, My Little Margie and Our Miss Brooks.


  1. Never seen this one, Dawn. It's interesting how the color scheme changes throughout the film.

  2. Okay, Dawn, you have convinced me that I need to see this one. I've put it off because, though I like Joseph Cotten, I can barely stand Jennifer Jones. (She ruins "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" for me.) But this sounds like a great movie, so I am going to add it to my NF queue.

    Thanks for a great review.

    Have a great day,

  3. I was thrilled to see that TCM was showing "Portrait of Jennie" last night as I haven't seen it since I was a teenager. Alas, it was not to be on TCM Canada, but I can't complain when they gave us "The Magnificent Ambersons". Yes, I can. Complain. Complain. Complain.

  4. This is a haunting little film, much like "The Enchanted Cottage", but the tinted sequences spoil the story for me. I think the revelation of Jennie's portrait in Technicolor is genius, but the green tint and the odd music leave me a bit seasick.

  5. Kim, It was the first time I saw the film, Portrait of Jennie. Even though the green sequence is absolutely beautiful, I don't really know why it was green. Maybe I need another viewing. :)

    Patti, Thank you. I'm not really a Joseph Cotten fan, but this is a great movie and I think worth watching at least once.

    Caftan Woman, Oh nooo! How disappointing..I will keep my fingers crossed that they will have on TCM Canada soon.

  6. whistlingypsy, I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who thought the green tint a little weird.

  7. This is a lovely film, Dawn. It's one you have to kind of "go with", but this is exactly the kind of role Jennifer Jones was meant for. She had a kind of other-worldly air about her that fits this film perfectly.

  8. For some reason PORTRAIT OF JENNY has a special place in my heart. This despite the fact that I'm not fond of Jennifer Jones as an actress (don't get me started...) - though, of course, Joseph Cotten is one of the great, if underrated, actors ever to grace the screen. But I can't resist this movie - regardless of its Selznick over-the-top-ness (wild, Oscar-winning, green seas, a golden hued Cotten recovers from a brush with death - and the full-color portrait at the end). There is something timeless in the story, and Cotten, Jones and Ethel Barrymore affectingly bring it to life...

  9. Flick Chick, I agree.. with you about Jennifer Jones, there does seem something about her that is perfect for the role.

    The Lady Eve, I have mixed feelings about Joseph Cotten. I never really cared for him as an actor, but.. I have always loved some of the movies he performed in.


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